H1N1 narrows in on target population

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - They say the younger you are, the greater the chance you will get the H1N1 flu. Local doctors say it is a dramatic contrast from seasonal flu. And, with these statistics, comes strict recommendations for parents.

The H1N1 virus has narrowed in on a target population. More children have been infected than any other group.

"Half of the people I saw this morning, I told them I thought they had H1N1," said Dr. Rick Rogers, a pediatrician for Trinity Mother Frances Clinic. "It's killing us. We are crushed."

Rogers says everyone is susceptible, but it's worse for kids.

"The virus has changed and presented itself in a different way than anything we have ever seen before except for those of us that are older," said Rogers. "People over 50 have an advantage because they have probably seen this before. Everyone else is immunologically naked."

The CDC reported that seven percent of patients hospitalized with H1N1 were over age 65, with 39 percent between 25 and 64, and 53 percent younger than 25.

The Texas Department of State Health services says it's happening here.

"I think most of the illness has been on young populations based on the evidence we see because we do interact with hospitals and clinics all over and track those numbers," said Dr. Paul McGaha with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Eighty-two have died in Texas. Twenty-three of them were children. And, these numbers concern day care workers like Carolyn Wallace.

"It's a very scary thing for the parents," said Wallace. "They don't want to bring their children to school because they think, 'OMG! They are going to get the flu if we take them.'"

Wallace says it's time for more help.

"I think we need these vaccines to hurry up and get here before it affects our children," said Wallace.

Everyone is looking for ways to slow the virus as it makes it's rounds on the youth. Dr. Rogers says he received his first shipment of the nasal vaccines this week. But, these can only go to children over age two that have no respiratory illnesses.

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